Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 20, 2019

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2019 #13




My head felt as if my brain were going to throb right out of my skull. Everything ached my joints, my back, and my soul. Something was wrong, it wasn't something a doctor could fix because it felt off-kilter. I willed myself to sit up on the side of the bed but slowly, not in one swift motion.
That would have probably amplified my headache ten-fold. There's a bit of comfort at least; I recognize the texture of my own bedsheets under my thighs and buttocks. I'm home, not in some strange dive hotel, no tell. It's a struggle to stand up and go to the bathroom, but it doesn't come without a few grunts and groans before I can manage it. When I pull the door open, I see her from my peripheral sitting up in my bed, naked. "Have you figured it out yet?"

"What the fuck?!" I jerk so suddenly with fear that I let out a lip slapping burst of flatulence. 

"Gross," Kara moaned. "Go clean up, and I'll explain everything after."

No argument from me, I stepped into my shower and turned the water on full cold. No gasp once the water ran over my head, I was used to it. A little bit of the Irish Spring body wash, and I was awake and wide-eyed. I dried myself off with a bath towel while walking back to my bedroom, Kara sat there with her legs folded together. "Do you remember anything from yesterday?"

"Yeah, you barged into my place and told me I was going to die, and that's the last thing I remember," I said while drying my hair off.

"Do you remember your workmates?" She asked. 

"My workmates?" I questioned.

"The guys you work with, do you remember their names?" She pressed.

"Uh, yeah, uh, Terry Warner, Blane Iwasaki, and Clayton Szeto," why was I having a hard time remembering their names?

"What was the last job you guys did?" Kara asked.

"Uh, those caverns, those lava tubes under the old Indigo Restaurant," I replied.

"What about them?" I got the impression that Kara already knew the answer to the questions she asked.

"Gaseous fumes from underground were seeping up into the restaurant, we were supposed to go and find the source...I can't recall anything after that." Man, my head was beginning to throb again.

"The four of you never found the source, you got turned around somehow and ended up going down the wrong lava tube," Kara said.

"You mean cavern," I corrected her.

"You started out in the caverns, but you ended up in a lava tube," she said.

"What's the difference?" I asked.

"Those caverns were also a part of the old opium dens back in the day, the lava tube that you and your friends ended up in? It led to the underworld." She said matter of fact.

"What underworld?" Now I knew she was crazy.

"The realm of Milu is where all the Hawaiian people who have recently passed are escorted to by their ʻAumakua," She began. "Then thereʻs those who lived a life without honoring their parents or their gods. They have no ʻAumakua, they have to sit in the branches of a rotted ʻUlu tree as shadowy human figures with red glowing eyes. Or they have to roam the treeless plains of the earth, feeding on spiders and mosquitos."

"What?" I squeaked.

"The reason you canʻt remember anything is that you and you and your friends were sucked down into the underworld. All of you were in a place where you shouldnʻt have been, so you were taken. Youʻre the only Hawaiian among your friends, so you were kind of let go and sent back." She looked at me with a bit of irritation.

"What?" I squeaked again.

"You have an erection," she deadpanned.

"Well, what do you expect? Youʻre sitting on my bed naked, and Iʻm standing here naked, and the fan is blowing on me, I mean..." I shrugged my shoulders.

"You know what? " She shook her head and laid herself back on my pillow. "Cʻmon, letʻs do it." She saw my momentary hesitation, and it only irritated her more. "Cʻmon! Get over here!"

"Well, arenʻt we gonna hug and kiss first?" I asked.

"Get over here," she growled while pointing at the spot between her legs.

I crawled on the bed and grabbed her ankles to part her legs, but the second I touched her, she became transparent. I jumped off the mattress and stumbled backward and fell on top of my hamper. Somewhere in there, Iʻm sure that I screamed like a girl. She crawled to the end of the bed and let out a sigh. "Go take another shower, and Iʻll be waiting for you in the kitchen."


"Kara Manners is my ʻstage nameʻ, so to say. I grew up as an only child in a Hawaiian family, my parents were beautiful people and poured affection on top of affection on me. They set the world at my feet and gave me anything I wanted," Kara said while staring down at the kitchen counter. She put on the same clothes from yesterday when she appeared at my front door. She really is a beautiful Hawaiian woman, I can see how plucky she is.

"Being spoiled like that didnʻt really work out for me in the long run. I could not cope in stressful situations, and I did not know a thing about being responsible or accountable. Once I graduated high school, and I was out in the world? I sank straight to the bottom. I couldnʻt hold down a job to save my life, so I tried college, that didnʻt work either. The short story is that I was beautiful and very useless, I didnʻt know how to do anything for myself because my parents did everything. I was only two years out of high school when they both passed away suddenly. My mother had terrible asthma, so she died in her sleep one night, my father was really broken up, and like me, he didnʻt know how to function without my mom. He passed a month later. If you havenʻt already guessed, I fell into a wrong crowd and got into drugs, and things got so bad I ended up having to sell my body to support my habit."

"That still doesnʻt explain why you go half invisible when somebody touches you," I said.

Kara nodded, "I know, Iʻm getting to it."

"Just saying," I put my hands up.

She took in a deep breath before she began. "Even in the ʻ60ʻs some of the girls knew about the caverns under Hotel street and most of Chinatown. We were never sure if the pimps knew, but thatʻs where weʻd take personal clients. That way, the cash was ours, and weʻd have a little something that was our own. Lucky me, though, the night I take a wealthy client down into the caverns, I find my pimp waiting for me. I donʻt think I ever ran so fast in my life, but even with my little flashlight, just like you and your friends, I got lost. I ended up in the same lava tube that led to the underworld. There were no ʻaumakua waiting to guide me, not even my parents. I was put on the dark rotting branches of an ulu tree at first. Then, Milu, the god of the underworld, came and cast me to the plains of Kaupeʻa. I was a formless shadow, feasting on any bug that crept or crawled, for how long I donʻt know but it was a lonely and desolate place. The immeasurable grief and regret you feel at not having done what you should have done while you were alive are indescribable. Itʻs worst than the weight of a dense ton of rocks on your shoulders, but you carry it with you as a reminder of your transgressions when you used to be a living being.  Time on the plains of Kaupeʻa does not exist, there is no night or day, no before or after, all that exists is now. Now, must have been when Milu appeared and snatched me from Kaupeʻa and brought me to the surface. I was back in the room where I lived when I was alive, you were laying there on my bed. He stripped me of my clothes and told me that I would have to lay with you every three days and that with my body, I had to absorb your nightmares as you slept. You see, in the underworld, Milu recognized you as a descendant of those family members who came to his realm with honor and aplomb. Your ancestors were admirable in their filial piety to their elders and their gods. Because of that, he returned you to the surface, but, you had to die at the end of every third day in order to spend time in the underworld to atone for trespassing. The rest of the time you live as a human being."

"Do the nightmares go away?" I asked.

"No," Kara said. 

"That why I couldnʻt have sex with you," I said that more to myself than her.

"Thatʻs why," Kara confirmed.

"If Kara Manners is your stage name, then whatʻs your Hawaiian name?" I asked.

"That name I cannot speak until I am done," Kara said. "So, do you understand now?"

"I understand," I rubbed my eyes. "So what now? Do you live with me from now on or what?"

"No," she replied. "I just come back every third day."

"And for me itʻs just life as usual?" I asked.

"Yeah, but you might want to re-think getting involved in any serious relationships, especially with me having to be in your bed." She said. "It might be hard to explain."

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